• Molly Diefenbach

    Mr. Packer

    Civil War Battles

    20 March 2012

     

                From doing this project, I learned a lot about my unit, the 28th Infantry Virginia Regiment.  From what counties the men were assembled in, to the last battle they fought in of the Civil War, this project has allowed me to follow the footsteps of the 28th Virginia, as well as learn more about the Civil War in general.

                The size of my regiment was relatively small, which surprised me.  Compromising 600 men (at it’s maximum) by 1862, I always thought of units being larger.  However, unlike other units, the men of the 28th Virginia made it through the many battles it fought in right up until the end of the Civil War.  From my research, the men of my regiment were passionate in their beliefs, much like many southerners who fought in the Civil War, and would fight relentlessly until the end.  I was surprised by this, considering that many of the men’s clothes and supplies were unsuited for varying weather and battle conditions. 

                The 28th Infantry fought in twenty battles from 1862 to 1865.  In 1861, they had their first orders to defend the railroad near Camp Pickens from May until July.  The regiment was part of General Longstreet’s command, and so they were recognized as a unit from Virginia, the 28th fought alongside many other units.  By 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment had only 333 men engaged in battle, due mainly from heavy casualties at battles such as the 1st Bull Run and at Williamsburg.  Fifty-one men and three officers surrendered, leaving the infantry with even less soldiers.  However, they continued to fight, and fought hard for another eight battles before the final one at Appomattox Courthouse.  It was here that General Lee surrendered.

                Today, Civil War history surrounds us.  On July 3, 1864, a Minnesota regiment captured the 28th’s flag at the Battle of Gettysburg.  It remains a hot debate today as to where the flag should be displayed.  Minnesota holds firmly to the idea that it should stay in Minnesota because just as much of their men’s blood was shed to capture the flag.  Virginia, however, wishes for their flag to returned home.  I believe that the flag should remain in Virginia.  If the flag remains in Minnesota, Virginia is lacking a crucial part of their Civil War history.

                    This project opened my eyes to a different perspective of the Civil War.  Many people view wars, any war, nowadays as statistics on death and the final outcome.  By following the 28th Infantry Virginia Regiment through their formation back in Virginia, to their bloody end in Pennsylvania, I learned not only about the tribulations and successes of these men, but also more about the battles of the Civil War and what life was like back then.  My thoughts on the wins and losses of my unit often surprised me as well.  For what I believe to be a small unit of men, there were still approximately over 200 men still fighting by the time the battle at Gettysburg came around. Finding the information about the flag too, helped me to understand that modern issues on the Civil War still exist.  I believe that this project helped me to better understand the battles of the Civil War, as well as some of the strategies of the generals and the outcomes of the major battles.